blending your own perfumes
Perfumes were created in the past by blending essential oils, rather than the synthetic chemicals found in today's perfumes.
French perfumer, Charles Piesse, categorised essential oils and related them to a corresponding musical note.
However, it was William Poucher, who created a method of describing the individual components of fragrance as top notes, middle notes and base notes.
music for your nose
Most perfumes contain a blend of top notes (sometimes called head notes), middle notes (heart notes) and base notes (bottom notes).
Top notes are the ones that you immediately smell, and the ones that will fade first.
They add brightness to a perfume blend and stimulate the senses.
Top notes disappear to uncover the longer lasting middle notes.
Top notes include: citrus oils such as sweet orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and bergamot, lemongrass, basil, peppermint, spearmint and petitgrain.
Middle notes impart warmth and fullness to the perfume blend.
They reveal themselves a little later than the top notes and last longer, rounding the perfume out.
Middle notes include: black pepper, cinnamon, geranium, lavender, rose absolute and ylang ylang.
Base notes are what you will still smell after the top notes and middle notes have faded.
They are heavy and lingering and can sometimes last for several hours.
The base notes can also act as a fixative on the perfume blend, preventing the top and middle notes from evaporating as quickly, improving the staying power of a blend.
Base notes include: cedarwood, frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver.